HowNet was investigated for suspected monopoly

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On May 13, the State Administration for Market Regulation announced that according to the previous inspection, CNKI has been investigated for suspected monopolistic behavior according to law. Subsequently, CNKI issued an announcement stating that it will firmly support and cooperate fully, and “will take this investigation as an opportunity to conduct in-depth self-examination, comprehensive self-examination, and thorough rectification.”

What kind of signal is released this time when CNKI was put on file for investigation? Suspected of monopolistic behavior, what are the manifestations? How to optimize the solution? The reporter interviewed experts in the field of anti-monopoly.

“Artificially created barriers to knowledge flow”

In April of this year, CNKI was opposed by the Chinese Academy of Sciences due to the renewal fee of nearly “tens of millions” and the “harsh” renewal conditions. CNKI once suspended the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ access to the CNKI database. In recent years, CNKI has repeatedly been brought to the forefront due to successive price hikes and suspected monopoly operations.

Behind the news hotspots again and again, what are the specific manifestations of HowNet’s alleged monopolistic behavior?

Shi Jianzhong, a member of the Expert Advisory Group of the Anti-Monopoly Committee of the State Council and a professor at China University of Political Science and Law, said that the type and quantity of Chinese academic literature, the number of journals, the quantity and quality of exclusive journals, the scale and coverage of users, the degree of user dependence, the market Sales, etc. have been in a leading position for a long time, and unfair format clauses are set in academic literature collection and service agreements. Whether it is purchasing academic literature or selling knowledge digital products, the price is “almost not bound by competition”, and it has the ability to dominate the market. status characteristics.

Shi Jianzhong believes that, based on all aspects of information, CNKI has signed exclusive agreements with a large number of journals and universities, restricting their cooperation with other third-party academic literature database service platforms, locking in upstream high-quality academic resources, artificially creating knowledge flow barriers, and making other competitors. It is difficult to compete fairly with them, which affects the sharing and dissemination of knowledge.

“At the same time, CNKI obtained super-high profits by collecting at low prices and selling at high prices. In the absence of justifiable reasons, it has greatly increased database prices for many years, increasing the burden on users and harming the interests of consumers.” Shi Jianzhong Say.

“A landmark event in the implementation of normalized supervision”

Sun Jin, an expert in the anti-monopoly expert database of the State Administration for Market Regulation and a professor at the Law School of Wuhan University, said: “The investigation into CNKI is a sign of the State Anti-Monopoly Bureau’s active response to social concerns and the implementation of normalized supervision of the platform economy in accordance with the law since the establishment of the State Anti-Monopoly Bureau. The incident demonstrates the country’s determination to set a ‘traffic light’ for capital on the track of the rule of law, regulate and guide the healthy development of enterprises in accordance with the law, and allow capital and technology to better serve high-quality development and contribute to common prosperity.”

Shi Jianzhong believes that CNKI is a typical platform company, and the investigation into it is to thoroughly implement the specific measures of the Party Central Committee on the implementation of normalized supervision, which is conducive to releasing a clear and clear signal to the market, so that the market can establish a more reliable and reliable way of establishing the rule of law. Stable and continuous expectations, enhance the self-compliance awareness of platform enterprises, guide and motivate platform enterprises to carry out high-level competition through technological innovation and model innovation, and continuously improve their core competitiveness.

In Sun Jin’s view, Internet platform companies, as the leading force in the digital economy, have contributed to optimizing resource allocation, improving production efficiency, promoting scientific and technological progress, and facilitating people’s lives. and restrictions on competition, unfairly high prices, infringement of consumer rights and other issues.

“Therefore, it is necessary to correctly understand and grasp the relationship between the norms and development of Internet platform companies and even all market players, guide their healthy development, and make them obey and serve the interests of the people and the country,” said Sun Jin.

“Correcting Business Behavior and Correcting Pricing Mechanism”

Today, with the explosion of information and more and more developed technical means, knowledge sharing is facing a “dilemma”: high-level academic resources are paid too much, and the quality of free resources is too low. How to solve this problem?

“As the cornerstone of a country’s economic development, a competitive market is irreplaceable.” Sun Jin said frankly, it is not difficult to find through the business operation model and market competition pattern of CNKI that once the competitiveness of the relevant market is weakened, it will lead to commodities in the market. Or the price of services continues to rise rapidly, the output of products decreases, and the quality of services gradually decreases; in the long run, it will also hinder knowledge dissemination and innovation, thereby harming innovation and development, hindering knowledge dissemination, and hindering national progress.

Sun Jin said frankly: “The CNKI incident tells us that when the market fails to solve its own problems in a timely and effective manner, that is, when the market fails, the timely intervention and intervention of law enforcement agencies is required. Of course, law enforcement is not just a means but an end. The purpose of investigating and punishing illegal acts is to rectify business behaviors and pricing mechanisms, to promote platform companies and other operators to pay equal attention to the regulation and development, and to grow and develop in fair competition. Only when competition is free, sufficient and fair will efficiency be improved, services will be improved, and prices will be fair, so as to achieve effective supply, a virtuous circle and sustainable development.”

Sun Jin believes that after law enforcement, it is still necessary for the state to fully introduce or cultivate market competitiveness in the development and operation of academic databases, break the traditional monopoly on copyright resources of academic databases, and form a multi-competitive pattern, so as to establish a market competition mechanism and make it effective. run. “Only in this way can the government and the market interact with the market to truly promote knowledge sharing, academic innovation and technological progress, better serve the national innovation-driven development strategy, promote the continuous improvement of overall social welfare, and facilitate high-quality development,” he said.

Source: Guangming Daily

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